The Bureau of Land Management Ely District, Caliente Field Office concluded the wild horse gather on Dec. 18, 2020.
2020 Meadow Valley Mountains-Delamar Mountains Emergency Wild Horse Gather
Purpose of Gather:
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Ely District, Caliente Field Office will begin an emergency wild horse gather on or about Dec. 6, 2020 in and around the Meadow Valley Mountains and Delamar Mountains Herd Areas (HAs) located about 20 miles southwest of Caliente in Lincoln County, Nevada.
The action is needed due to lack of water and forage resulting in declining health of the wild horses - the HAs have a history of water issues during dry spring and summer months. Fiscal year 2020 has been unusually hot and dry with very little precipitation. Due to the extremely dry conditions, there have been multiple fires within and around the Meadow Valley Mountains and Delamar Mountains HAs resulting in loss of forage.
All horses identified for removal will be transported to the Bruneau Off-Range Wild Horse Corrals, in Bruneau, Idaho, where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program.
Details of Gather:
The BLM will conduct gather operations using the helicopter-assisted method. The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 414 excess wild horses.
The BLM reduced the status of the Meadow Valley Mountains and Delamar Mountains from Herd Management Area to Herd Area in the 2008 Ely District Record of Decision and Approved Resource Management Plan and manage the HAs for “0” wild horses. The current population estimate in the Meadow Valley Mountains HA is 216 wild horses. The current population estimate in the Delamar Mountains HA is 198 wild horses.
Meadow Valley Mountains and Delamar Mountains are two of nine Herd Areas that comprise the Caliente Herd Area Complex. The Caliente HA Complex is located within a forty-mile radius of the town of Caliente in Lincoln County, Nevada. The Caliente HA Complex is not designated for wild horses due to insufficient forage and water resources available within the complex to maintain healthy wild horses and rangelands over the long-term. The BLM’s decision to not manage for wild horses within the Caliente Herd Area Complex is based on analysis in the 2008 Ely District Record of Decision and Approved Resource Management Plan.
The purpose of the gather is critical to prevent further deteriorating body condition of the wild horses in the area due to extremely limited water sources, undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, and to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
The Meadow Valley Mountains and Delamar Mountains HAs are located about 20 miles southwest of Caliente, Nevada, in Lincoln County. The Meadow Valley Mountains HA consists of approximately 94,521 acres of BLM-administered lands. The Delamar Mountains HA consists of approximately of 183,558 acres of BLM-administered lands. The HAs are within the Mojave Desert physiographic region. This area is remote and rugged. Vegetation in the HAs consists primarily of Creosotebush, blackbrush, and sparce desert grasses. Precipitation in the Meadow Valley Mountains and Delamar Mountains HAs ranges from approximately 5 to7 inches. Most of the precipitation comes during the winter months. Summers are hot and dry, with high temperatures in the 100’s or higher. Winters are cold, with temperatures dropping near freezing.
To keep the public informed and allow reasonable access to gather operations, the Ely District, Caliente Field Office plans to schedule daily public visitation opportunities to view the gather operations.
All media and/or visitors wanting to go to the gather site need to call the “Meadow Valley Mountains-Delamar Mountains Wild Horse Gather information hotline” at 775-861-6700 for daily meeting times and locations.
A Public Affairs Officer and a Law Enforcement Officer will meet the public each morning at the pre-determined meeting location, to escort the group to and from the gather observation sites.
It may be necessary to limit the number of observers to allow for “Social Distancing”. The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. We continue to work closely with the Department of the Interior and follow CDC guidance to ensure public and employee spaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating on public lands prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
When visiting public lands, the public should follow local area health orders including Governor Sisolak’s standards for individuals, businesses and employers, practice Leave No Trace principles, practice social distancing and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
The wild horses removed from the range will be transported to the BLM’s Bruneau Off-Range Wild Horse Corrals, in Bruneau, Idaho, where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption program. Animals not adopted will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they retain their "wild" status and protection under 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.